Study: Investment in film pays dividends

An N.C. State professor has released a study suggesting that, for ever $1 North Carolina has spent on film tax credits, the industry spent $9.11 in the state.

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Under the Dome
Mark Binker
RALEIGH, N.C. — Add another film study to the pile of reports lawmakers will have to look at when they return to work next month.
This one, by Robert Handfield, a distinguished professor at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management, bolsters the case that tax credits given to the industry help the state's economy.

The key finding: Beginning in 2007, when the incentive was first enacted, through 2012, the film and television industry has spent $1.02 billion in the state and generated a projected $170,000,000 in tax revenue. The cost of the credit over the same time period was $112,000,000. The result means that, for every dollar of credit issued, the industry generated $9.11 in direct spending and contributed $1.52 in tax revenue to North Carolina.

"The findings are quite clear on these matters and reveal the incentive to be the driving force behind the economic success of North Carolina’s film and television industry," Handfield said.

North Carolina's tax credits for film and television production are set to expire at the end of the year. There are lawmakers who argue the credits should expire and will likely look to other reports, such as a study by the conservative John Locke Foundation think tank that say the film credit costs more than its worth.

However, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker has said she would like to keep the credit, and lawmakers from areas where there is a lot of filming activity, particularly Wilmington, are poised to press their colleagues to either extend the credits or come up with a new system to help keep film productions in the state.


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